Forced arbitration—many of us have come across it again and again in our everyday lives as consumers. This occurs when a consumer is asked to sign an arbitration agreement before he or she can proceed with the purchase of a product, or before the individual can sign up for a service. This step involves the consumer waiving his or her right to sue or file class-action lawsuits, and agreeing to have any disputes with the company handled through arbitration—a process that is oftentimes more favorable for the company. America's Work Force Radio, a radio show that is aired on station WERE 1490 AM, recently brought Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney Donald C. Moore, Jr. onto the show to discuss the rising prevalence of forced arbitration in the United States, as well as the negative impacts of this practice. The radio interview with Mr. Moore—the founder of The Moore Law Firm—was aired on September 5, 2013.
Attorney Moore said in the interview that the use of forced arbitration by companies today has become "rampant." He stated that nearly everywhere consumers go, they are being asked to sign these agreements, whether they are applying for credit cards or buying computer equipment. The lawyers noted that he was even recently asked to sign an arbitration agreement when he made a request for medical records. Furthermore, it has become much more common for job seekers to be asked by employers to sign such agreements, a practice that Attorney Moore said some states have even outlawed.
Unfortunately for consumers, another trend that has been occurring is the growing tendency of the courts to uphold forced arbitration agreements, according to Mr. Moore. He cited a case he is currently working on in Kentucky in which the client was forced to resolve his dispute with an employer through arbitration, despite the fact that the state has a law that bans forced arbitration agreements by employers. Mr. Moore said that this is because the Federal Arbitration Act makes it possible for "the feds" to override state laws related to these types of agreements.
Why do companies use forced arbitration agreements? The founder of The Moore Law Firm answered this question during his radio interview. He called it an attempt by the companies to "divide and conquer." The idea is to prevent consumers from forming class action lawsuits. "This is a way to get around our 7th Amendment right to a jury trial," the lawyer said, referring to forced arbitration.
Mr. Moore's advice to consumers was to simply avoid using the goods or services of companies that try to force consumers into giving up their rights to jury trials. Another approach to addressing this issue, he said, is to reach out to legislators.
Attorney Moore is well-qualified to speak on the topic of forced arbitration, as he has experience chairing arbitration panels. Furthermore, he has more than three decades of experience practicing personal injury law, and he has served as a substitute judge in Clermont County Court . The Moore Law Firm's lawyers are able to assist with many different types personal injury cases. Contact us today so we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries!